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New NAPF chairman wants Myners rethink

UK – The incoming chairman of the National Association of Pension Funds has called for a rethink of the Myners Principles of institutional investment, saying it was a mis-step.

Robin Ellison, who is set to take over from Terry Faulkner in May, said: “Maybe Myners was a bold step, but a step in the wrong direction. Maybe we don’t need trained trustees.”

Ellison, a lawyer at Pinsent Mason, didn’t want trustee expertise to be embodied in legislation because it discouraged people.

Speaking at the NAPF’s annual investment conference in Edinburgh, he called for Myners to be reversed as it was the “wrong execution” with “unintended consequences”. The government is currently consulting on take-up of the Myners report.

The warning came as the UK's main fund trade body, the Investment Management Association (IMA) said it broadly supported the Myners' principles.

IMA said it supported the change on expert advice to allow separate contracting, particularly for actuarial and for strategic asset allocation advice and fund manager selection.

The Association also came out in favour of the proposed amendments to dealing with explicit mandates and sait it wanted clear timescales to measure fund performance. It said: "This should address the mismatch in perception between trustees and fund managers that the structure of mandates is too short-term."

Ellison separately warned about the potential impact in the UK of the directive on Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision, which comes into force on September 23.

“If we don’t get our act together here then multinationals and even nationals could hop over the Channel,” Ellison told delegates. He said schemes could go abroad, forced out by over-regulation – with Ireland and Iceland as possible destinations.

Ellison added there was a kind of a “hate-fest” against pension consultants evident at the conference. Pension fund managers at the meeting have expressed their exasperation with their advisers, and especially their fees, to IPE. And some said the more technical presentations at the conference were of little relevance to them.

Ellison suggested there was perhaps a need for an “investment consultant-lite” approach for smaller schemes that couldn’t afford consultants’ advice.

And he called for the various industry groups to work together to help “get regulation on the run”.

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